I know this has been asked before, but can we suggest a new approach to handling this problem. For example making new users accept an answer to the very first question they ask so they get the picture that they need to accept answers. By allowing them to continue they end up posting sometimes up to 5 questions in a few days and end up letting them sit there after they get a few answers. There has been a surge in answered questions that have not been accepted in the last few weeks which really messes up those who put time into answering them (me included). There should be increased messages and alerts to those who don't accept answers. And maybe once they reach a certain milestone in reputation these messages stop being displayed as much.

I also noticed that most of these users come from forums that obviously don't work off the same system Stack does, so could these messages be displayed when ever they visit their question to remind them that this is the way it works around here.

  • 2
    What if the very first question they ask doesn't have any answers? Even worse, what if the only answre is something like "I don't know"?
    – Gabe
    Apr 8 '11 at 3:29
  • 1
    @Gabe How about either they select an answer or they delete the question? In my opinion they cause way more damage by posting dozens of questions with no selected answers. It hurts developers who spend time posting answers and it hurts users looking for answers because they don't know what answer works. Also It prevents other serious users from asking the question.
    – Edward
    Apr 8 '11 at 3:37
  • @Gabe Also isn't this the way bounties work? It doesn't matter what the answer is (ex. "I don't know"), as long as they have the most votes they get the points.
    – Edward
    Apr 8 '11 at 3:44
  • This covers similar topic: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/79347/…
    – Harry Joy
    Apr 8 '11 at 4:31
  • @Harry Remember it is the same issue, but I am suggesting a different approach. First time users should be "guided" so they completely understand how the water runs on these sites.
    – Edward
    Apr 8 '11 at 4:41
  • Note that the accept rate calculation doesn't actually kick in until the user has already posted four or five questions, so there's really no way to preemptively notify them.
    – user102937
    Apr 8 '11 at 4:46

You can help these folks by letting them know what accept rate is. However...

Please don't leave some lame comment like "Why should we help you with an accept rate like that?" If they knew what accept rate meant, and how to accept answers, it wouldn't be a problem, because they would have already accepted answers to some of their questions.

Just leave a comment on their question, like so:

Please work on your accept rate. See https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16721

  • 1
    Note: I only use this message for users with zero accept rate. I never message users whose accept rate is above zero.
    – user102937
    Apr 8 '11 at 5:53
  • @Robert +1 for the link and message. I'm going to try it and see if it works. Although this seems somewhat of a temporary fix. There is always the chance they ignore it (like usual).
    – Edward
    Apr 8 '11 at 6:10
  • this assumes the user already knows about accepting at all... what about something friendlier like did you know you can mark one answer per question as [accepted](http://meta.stackexchange.com/q/5234)? Apr 8 '11 at 8:16
  • @loyalpenguin: Accepting answers is an optional activity on StackOverflow. It may be strongly encouraged, but it is optional, and it should stay that way.
    – user102937
    Apr 8 '11 at 14:42
  • @Tobias: Er...What? Did you try clicking the link in the message?
    – user102937
    Apr 8 '11 at 14:43
  • @RobertHarvey: sure, I just mean a new user could be confused by accept rate if they didn't know about accepting itself. yeah, basically it's the same, I'm probably just nitpicking here... Apr 8 '11 at 14:46
  • @Robert yes it is optional but the first question should not be. We should establish good habits when a user first uses the site.
    – Edward
    Apr 8 '11 at 19:46

May be an alert to the user with a link to the post describing accept rates when the accept rate goes below a particular percentage.

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